How to create an effective brochure

DATE:April 14, 2015

We can all agree that we are tired of visiting stores or offices and seeing rows of awfully designed brochures. Nothing turns customers away more than a brochure that is so outdated that not only the designs look like they are from 1998, but there is a layer of dust on the fronts of the brochures.

There is no reason to have bad brochures. They are (when designed well) an effective marketing tool and relatively inexpensive.

Tips for designing a great brochure

Fortunately, designing brochures has become easier over the years. If you don’t want to start from scratch, you don’t have to; there are thousands of templates you can purchase online. Of course, you need to find the good ones and insert quality content, so here are our best tips for making an effective brochure:

Have a purpose

This sounds obvious, but knowing the purpose of the brochure dictates the design. For example, if you are just handing out a general services brochure at a busy tradeshow, you might want to keep it to the standard trifold for budget purposes. You are going to be handing out a large quantity of brochures without any certainty of the quality of leads.

In contrast, for potential client or partner meetings, you are going to want something classier. You will want to use heavier paper, maybe semi-gloss and a unique design; all of these things scream high quality, which will improve your pitch.

Write for the customer

Again, this can sound obvious, but it is easy to get caught up in your industry and forget to spell out acronyms or explain why your services matter. No matter what your brochure is about remember the acronym WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? That is what your clients want to know.

Skip lengthy paragraphs

Brochures should be made for skimming. Use catchy, short headlines, short paragraphs (3 sentences MAX) and bullet points. If you are feeling extra creative, you can illustrate some of your content in infographic form.

Don’t skimp on photography

Photos are arguably the most important part of your brochure. They are what initially catch people’s attention and are the first impression many people have of your company.

If you can afford it, and it makes sense for the purpose of your brochure, hire a photographer. It is great that we can take photos on our iPhones, but professional photographers exist for a reason – they take photos that sell. At the very least, have your team photos and headshots taken professionally for a services brochure.

Chances are that you will end up using stock photos for some, if not all of your brochure’s images – and there is nothing wrong with that. Stock photos are a great addition to your design, so long as it doesn’t look like the stereotypical, cheesy stock photography.

When in doubt, search the web for design ideas. The Design Inspiration complied 30 of the best brochure designs for your inspiration, so along with our tips and those examples, you are all set to create a brochure people will actually want to take!

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